IL Marriage Equality Bill Reintroduced in New Legislative Session

Illinois hopes to follow in the footsteps of other states with legal marriage for same-sex couples.Bills legalizing same-sex marriage were introduced in the new session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. Senator Heather Steans and Representative Greg Harris introduced the bills concurrently on the first day of Illinois’ new legislative session of the General Assembly, January 9, 2013.

“The time is here, the time is now to recognize and protect all Illinois families,” said Rick Garcia, director of the Equal Marriage Illinois project of The Civil Rights Agenda. “Momentum for same-sex marriage is building throughout the country and throughout the Land of Lincoln.”

Proponents of equal marriage rights had hoped for a vote during the lame duck session but it did not happen.

“To get this done, we need real people to stand up, tell our stories and be counted,” said Garcia. “It is not a matter of if same sex marriage will come to Illinois but when it will come to Illinois. And, the time is now!”

Religious, business, civic and labor organizations and leaders have endorsed the equal marriage bill in Illinois.

“The faithful, loving and lifelong commitment of two persons – of the same-sex or opposite-sex – is capable of signifying the never failing love of God,” said the Right Reverend Jeffrey Lee, Episcopal Bishop of Chicago.

“[The Chicago teachers Union is] in full support of this measure for two reasons—the equality it will help bring to our union members who are in committed, same-sex relationships, and the stability it will provide for the children and families we serve,” said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen GJ Lewis.

“Giving gay and lesbian couples the freedom to get married honors the best conservative principles. It strengthens families and reinforces a key Republican value – that the law should treat all citizens

equally,” said Pat Brady Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.

Jim Bennett, Regional Director for the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal, said: “We’re glad our legislators are pursuing passage of the bill with urgency. Marriage is urgent for the thousands of Illinois  same-sex couples and their children who need the freedom to marry right now,” said Jim Bennett.”The introduction of the bill on the first day of the new lllinois Legislative session is yet another sign that it’s a matter of when, and not if, marriage happens in Illinois.”

Source: New Civil Rights Movement

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